We need some help/advice. We are having issues with Harley (our BRAT rescue being aggressive/growly toward people when they come to our house. This is a new thing that has developed and we just can't figure it out. It scares me because it seems like he does it more toward kids that come over (esp. kids who have animals & so have that smell on them). His hackles go up, the other day he sort of snapped at one of the kids' friends when she came in the door and today we had someone come over and I was holding his collar when they came in the door and he snarled & was very mean about the whole thing.
We feel like his behavior toward other dogs changed after he was attacked @ the dog park (I posted about it on the basenji forum) and I don't know if this relates to that also or what. He has NEVER shown the least bit of aggression toward our kids except for normal minor "stop doing that" sorts of warning growls (hope that makes sense).
He seems super aggressive when they very first come in the house, then if we keep on him (holding his collar, CLOSELY monitoring contact) then we can let him go and he does pretty much ok. Although it seems like if he "forgets" they are here (like the strange kid is in another part of the house for a while) we have to start all over again. Then later, he tries to "play" with them by jumping up & nipping…but this is something he doesn't do w/our kids...it's obviously playing & reminds me of how he has played in the past with other dogs.
Ever since the dog park incident we've been unable to have him around other dogs. He & my parents' dog (a Bichon) used to get along just fine & play but now we can't let them be around each other. That's a somewhat separate issue, as it doesn't worry me that much & is easier to control. But we have a bunch of kids and a very open home and it is impossible to limit the kids (ours & others) in our home.
I'm so worried because obviously if he bites any children we can't keep him. I just want to get this figured out and the behavior addressed ASAP because right now when there are people over we have to keep him locked up in other areas of the house or I have to be hyper-vigilant to be sure he isn't getting aggressive toward any kids in the house.
Do you have any ideas/suggestions? Help!!
We took Harley to the dog park yesterday. I wouldn't say we go often, but a couple times a month we've been taking him up there & he's always done really well. We'd been hearing "rumors" of 2 Basenjis being up @ the park at different times and they were there yesterday.
We were talking to the owner of the the other 2 B's and they were doing just fine w/each other. We'd been there probably close to 30 min. and then all of a sudden, the male B took after Harley, really attacking him. We'd been watching and there was absolutely no provocation or anything.
Harley is pretty submissive, so he immediately went down & onto his back but the dog kept after him and got a couple of good nips in. It definitely wasn't play & he didn't back off when Harley went submissive. Then other dogs immediately rushed over and one big Boxer-type dog started going after Harley too. I was SO GLAD my husband was there. He grabbed the Boxer by the collar and literally threw him off the pile. Then grabbed Harley's collar and lifted him by it with the other dog hanging on!
We got Harley out of there and he has a few scrapes here & there and was pretty shook up. I have a puncture from one of the dogs on my hand. We came home, he pretty much went straight to bed. I felt so bad for him.
The owner of the other B's felt badly, came out of the park & asked if we/Harley was ok & apologized. On the way home, hubby said he'd get the back yard fenced. I doubt we'll go back to the dog park for a while, if at all.
Just thought I would post here as you all have been so helpful in the past! I'll give you a little history & then our current "symptoms":
When we got Harley (as a rescue thru BRAT), we were told he was eating Beneful and advised to get him on some better food. After tons of research online & at our local "health food" pet store, we switched him over to Evo (chicken/rice) mixed with Innova. He ate that for a while & seemed to be doing ok. Then he just sort of tapered off of eating it little by little & also started showing some signs that seemed to indicate a food allergy.
So we switched him over to Merrick (the kind you add a little warm water to it & it makes "gravy") and he ate like a champ for a while with none of the allergy type signs anymore. While we were making the switch, he had the most foul gas but that cleared up.
Now he has pretty much tapered off of eating that also. He has had diarrhea and has thrown up occasionally (mostly from the empty stomach, I think). He is not lethargic or showing ANY other signs of being sick at all. He is just not eating his food. He will eat biscuits or other stuff, so it's not that he's refusing ALL food, just the stuff that goes in his bowl. And he acts hungry when we're eating. We've tried wetting it, leaving it dry, mixing it with a little bit of some sample stuff from the pet store, but he is just not interested.
I would totally take him to the vet if that seemed necessary, but he is showing absolutely NO other symptoms like he is sick, in fact is acting perfectly normal except for not eating….I don't want to pay the vet just to tell me that our boy is just being picky, but on the other hand, I really want to get this figured out. I think he's getting thin, but don't know if he really is or just me being paranoid!
Any advice or suggestions?
Give Harley a couple of dry dog biskets. Then offer food at a later time.
He might be going too long between meals and this makes the bile in his gut.
So, he might wake up with a sore tummy.
Also, I would give him a couple of dry biskets before bed.
We gave Harley a couple of biscuits last night when we went to bed (11pm) and he got up this morning & ate most of his breakfast! We'll try again & see if that continues to do the trick.
Thanks, Sharron. We just took him to the vet & she gave him a clean bill of health. Said he had great teeth, too! The breath isn't all the time & it's not awful….just kinda gross. If it's just a doggie thing, we'll put up with it, but I just wanted to make sure we're not missing something & should be giving him 'greenies' or something like that.
We just took Harley to the vet & she recommended that we start him on a flea treatment as it is the start of flea season. She said either Advantix (a topical treatment) or else a pill (can't remember the name).
Just wondering what other people use and what are the pros/cons for Harley as well as what the pros/cons would be for the people in our house. Specifically I was worried about the toxicity of the topical treatment because of all the kids in the house.
Oh my goodness! So many things to think about with this new (& super terrific) family member!
What do we need to be doing to take care of Harley's mouth/teeth? He has smelly, fishy breath sometimes- maybe this is just normal….but are we supposed to be doing something or giving him something to keep his teeth healthy? Like those green bones or something?
Fill me in on Basenji dental care, please!:D
When we got Harley, we were told he eats 2x a day. Sometimes he eats in the morning, but most mornings he either only eats some of his food or leaves it alone entirely.
One of the mornings that he didn't eat, he went outside & threw up (which I've read can be because of not eating, then they throw up bile).
Anyway, I've reduced his food in the morning so that it's not such a waste if he doesn't eat it, but not sure what to do. Do we just cut out the morning feeding? Or reduce the food even more in the morning? Any input or ideas are welcome!
He eats all his food in the morning & at night- the food bowl was empty, just sitting on the floor next to the water bowl. So if that is what "free feed" means then we are not doing that.
He got feisty over a totally empty food bowl.
Would he be proprietary about his water bowl too?
We've had Harley for just a week now. My parents have a Bichon & we have visited their place with Harley once and the dogs got along just fine & even played together. We spend a lot of time with my parents at their place & ours and we often watch Scooter for them.
They are going out of town this weekend & we were supposed to have Scooter stay with us. My mom brought him over today just to see how they would do on "Harley's turf" before she decided to leave him for sure.
Well, they were just fine until Scooter started to go into the kitchen. As soon as he walked in there I thought I maybe should've moved Harley's food bowl (& maybe water bowl too?). Scooter started to sniff Harley's bowl & Harley got his hackles all up & then started growling & lunged & was NOT happy at all.
My mom grabbed Scooter. No harm done, but it got everyone's heart pounding a little fast, for sure!! Anyway, my question is, do we just need to move Harley's bowl(s) when Scooter is here next time or are there other things we should do when we have another dog visit? Also, could this just be because this home is still pretty new for Harley & he is really staking his claim? Do you think it would get better after he's been here longer and settled in more?
I know that's a lot of questions. Any help would be terrific! This is the first behavior we've seen that is anything less than angelic…I just want to make sure we deal with it well in the future & ensure that we can continue to spend time with my parents & Scooter.
Thanks everyone for your help in bringing Harley "home". I've posted an intro to our family (in Introductions) & some pics (in Show off your dog). It was super fun finding the original thread posted by JoNell and reading about how Harley came to us.
I hope to be able to "pay it forward" someday and help another beautiful boy (or girl) just like Harley get to his/her forever home.
-from Harley's new fam.
Look at that handsome boy!!
I love how his legs are all stretched out in this pic. I'm not in many cuz I'm usually behind the camera. One of the kids took this one.
This is Alex in a "business meeting" with our business partner. All the paperwork is spread out on his lap/chair with Harley on top.
Whoever is in this chair is Harley's best bud- we think he likes getting "squeezed" between whoever he is snuggling with and the arm of the chair.
Just thought I'd make the formal introductions. We are Harley's (the "famous" forum dog) new family. Me (Crystal), my hubby (Alex) and 6 kiddos ranging from 9 to 15 years old.
I grew up w/a grandpa who raised/bred/showed Portuguese Water Dogs and went to tons of dog shows with him, which is where I first saw & fell in love with Basenjis. Over the last few years, I've done plenty of grown-up research on the breed to decided whether my childhood crush was worth pursuing.
The kids & I have been wanting a dog for a while. The ultimate decision of what kind rested with me, cuz as I'm sure you know- the "kids' dog" often becomes "mom's dog" in not too long! I've been dropping hints with my hubby for a while- even bought an ornament to hang on the Christmas tree last year that said "Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is a Basenji". My husband thought it was really funny!
We finally convinced my hubby…actually he convinced himself. We watched a special on a guy who is dying of cancer and doing the "last lecture" (if you haven't heard of him, google it- very inspiring) and Alex sat me down and said that after watching that, he didn't want to be the one responsible for me not getting my dream of owning a Basenji and his kids not getting the experience of growing up with a dog. He is a special guy...for sure!
I didn't want a puppy and I loved the idea of getting a rescue dog, so we filled out a BRAT application, knowing that it could take weeks or even months before a dog might come along that would be a good fit for a family with kids.
Just a few days later, we get the call/email from Sharron asking if we would consider fostering Harley. We took him (telling the kids we were just doggie-sitting) and we have been so pleased with his loving nature and gentle personality. When we had our "family meeting", the kids were overjoyed to discover that we were doing more than doggie-sitting....our 2 girls even cried out of happiness.
Harley is a delightful boy...such a cuddle-bug, great with the kids. Even my hubby has warmed up to him- FAST. We've had neighbors comment on him, our families have said nothing but nice things about him, he gets along well with my parents dog (which was important to us) and is fitting in with our family so nicely.
So thanks to the forum members who made this possible! I'll post some pics of Harley in the appropriate spot if you'd like to see. Glad to find a great source of info from other Basenji lovers!